Matthew Parker, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army, will be heading to Ukraine to help the country’s military fight against Russian forces.
Parker, who is the owner of Independent Security Advisors LLC, a protective services training company, plans to fly to Poland in the next few days to coordinate with his contacts to cross the border to Ukraine.
“I don’t like what’s happening over there. Parker said that he has seen the effects of civilians caught up in a conflict and found that Russians tend to burn bridges when they lose.
A father of four adult children, aged 50, said that he had grown close to a Ukrainian soldier and served under him for approximately a year and a half while he was serving in the Army. Parker stated that the soldier has family in Ukraine, including an older sister with disabilities. This was part of his inspiration to help them.
Parker originally planned to leave Ukraine about a week before he was contacted by other American and foreign volunteers. Many of these people have military or first-responder backgrounds. They want to help Parker get to Ukraine.
Parker stated that some volunteers are young men who have been away from the military for between two and ten years.
He explained that if you have been to Iraq, Afghanistan, or, like me, Bosnia, you can’t turn it off.
“Now, before any… person says, “Oh, that’s just PTSD.” It’s not PTSD. This is called memory. It’s the same anger that you feel when you see children and women starving, their homes destroyed. It’s the same ignorance. As they bomb these cities, it’s the same ignorance that the Russians display. They bomb hospitals.
Parker is an executive and diplomat protection specialist and has extensive experience in deploying agents and training teams to other countries.
“So I used that experience to put together these young men and said, “Listen, you need an attorney, a will.” You must store anything you own. Parker said that you can’t leave your car at the airport.
He also assists volunteers in obtaining the proper equipment for snow and cold weather conditions in Ukraine. He also contacts the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine (ILTD) to inform them when and what skills they are bringing.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President, created the International Legion after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, and lifted visa restrictions for foreign volunteers.
His office released a press release on February 27 stating that “anyone who wishes to join the defense Ukraine, Europe, and the world can come along and fight side-by-side with the Ukrainians and conquer the Russians.”
Parker has contacts in Ukraine and Poland who can offer volunteers rides to the airport, overnight accommodation, and rides across the border. Volunteers can check-in at the International Legion to receive a group assignment based on their skill set.
“Now they can completely disregard all that [a volunteer] does. He could even be an electronics repairman. Parker replied that they could give him a rifle and tell him to guard a bridge. “This is new and they are under so much pressure. It is incredible that they can hold the legion up at all.
Parker claims that his four children were not surprised by his announcement.
“The boys were used me being in Iraq, the fact that it’s not Iraq and it isn’t the Army sending me there… They all said exactly the same thing. He said two things. One, “We knew you would do it,” but two, “We trust you,” he added.
Ukraine is under attack for 15 days. According to U.N. High Commission for Refugees, an estimated 2.3 million people fled Ukraine.
According to the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 549 Ukrainians were killed on Thursday and almost a thousand more have been injured since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.